Students face challenges during exam time
TRURO - If Kelsey MacKenzie seems a little preoccupied leading up to exams, chances are she's making up a song in her head.
"I study by making up songs and singing them in my head. It's easier to remember song lyrics than (study) notes even though I can't sing at all," laughed the Grade 12 Cobequid Educational Centre student.
MacKenzie is beginning to study for exams, which begin in Colchester County the last week of January. Often a stressful and challenging time for students, MacKenzie knows implementing simple study techniques will help her achieve success.
"I take good notes, highlight a lot, watch for emphasis on things by the teacher and get my homework done," said MacKenzie, who has a 90 average and will study business at Mount Allison next year.
MacKenzie said it's not just knowing the course that helps during exam time.
"I do get nervous but I take a deep breath and remain calm. Then I take it one step at a time."
Grade 12 CEC student Kirsten Zandbergen said preparing for an exam can be difficult for many reasons.
"I can get distracted by the drop of a pen and organization is not my best skill," she admits.
"I get stressed easily ... I'm a visual learner. I rewrite my notes and need to study a few weeks (before) the exam."
For Zandbergen participating in study groups and having the freedom to ask for help are tremendous assets.
"Teachers' reviews, using cue cards to study ... helps and so does asking for help because you may not be the only one struggling," said Zandbergen, who has about an 80 average. She will study hair design in Halifax next September, followed by a business course.
Susanne Nisar, department head of student services and learning centre at CEC, said taking education seriously is a good starting point.
"Exams are usually 30 per cent of their mark so it could be a make or break situation."
Nisar has seen many students come to the guidance office for help or are stressed because of a lack of preparation.
"More girls come for help. I think it's a gender thing because girls tend to communicate more," she said. "I see many students looking for help to reduce anxiety and I even get calls from parents looking for ways to help."
Stacy Moore, Kirsten's mom, said providing the basics for her daughter goes a long way.
"Giving her a quiet environment and encouraging her to eat healthy help with studies ... students do better when they have support from parents," said Moore.
Nisar said there are CEC students who are exempt from one of their course exams due to a pilot program at the school this year. The program is based on good attendance and Nisar estimates "not a high, high per cent ... maybe two or three students in each course" are entitled to one exemption this semester.